Caulfield hosts the weekend feature with the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes headlining Saturday’s racing.
It’s a competitive afternoon of action in Melbourne, and Rosehill also has some key action to look forward to in Sydney.
We’ve got our best bets picked out for both meetings.
Race 8 – Bletchingly Stakes
A small but classy field of nine has been declared for the Group 3. Scales Of Justice and Cliff’s Edge are two of the highest rated horses in the field and are first-up as they gear up for the spring, but based on their recent jumpouts, I can’t see them claiming victory at this early stage of their preparations. The Hawkes Racing-trained SESAR ($1.80 TopBetta) is clearly the one to beat based on his last start run in the Winter Dash (1200m) at Randwick where he came from last to defeat Boss Lane and Jungle Edge. Admittedly, Jungle Edge meets him 4kg better at the weights, but I don’t put much emphasis on weights in sprint events. With a five-week break since his first run in 31 weeks, he should be nice and fresh and ready to fire.
Tasmanian visitor TSHAHITSI ($4.60 TopBetta) was first-up for 490 days in the All Victorian Sprint (1200m) at Flemington and the market said he couldn’t win, drifting from $21 to $51 at the jump. He led and battled on well behind the handy sprinters, crossing the line with Sirius Suspect who bolted in a handy sprint race at Flemington last Saturday. I love the jockey change here, with regular rider B McCoull going off and 3kg claimer Teodore Nugent going on. Teo suits this horse down to the ground and will be positive on him early and with no other real speed in the race, he should get an uncontested lead. My only concern is the first-up run flattened him off a long spell.
I blackbooked CONNEMARA ($2.50 TopBetta) before her last start and she then finished 2nd to Notation who won at Canterbury in the previous start and then defeated Velocita next start before beating all bar Smartedge in a strong BM88 last Saturday. That form line is proven, and Connemara now heads back to the races with five weeks between runs but with a soft barrier trial under the belt to keep her up to the mark. She scored third-up last campaign and should be at peak fitness now, and after drawing barrier 3, she’ll get every chance with Jay Ford in the saddle.
If TANIKO ($6.00 TopBetta) backs up from last Saturday’s impressive win, she’s the one to beat again. She ran the quickest final 600m, 400m and 200m of the meeting while also going 12 lengths above all BM ratings which was a clear standout for the day. At her fifth run this campaign, she should be at peak fitness and able to absorb the quick back-up.